Leeks lend a subtle but very important flavor to my cooking and they are an ingredient I can’t do without. Enriched with olive oil and the salty ocean note of bottarga, which is salted, dried mullet or tuna roe, they make my mouth do back flips. God bless the humble leek.


  • 6 large leeks
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, very thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 1 (16-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ounce bottarga
  • 1 cup wild arugula


Begin by removing the roots of the leeks, as well as the green tops, leaving 1 inch of green intact. Halve lengthwise and rinse really well, making sure to remove all the fine dirt between the layers. Pat dry and set aside.

Place a medium skillet over high heat and add a 2-count of oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, or until the onions are soft. Add the tomatoes and sugar. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring now and then. Season with pepper but don’t add salt, as the bottarga is very salty.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Arrange the leeks in a single layer in an ovenproof baking dish and cover with the tomato sauce. Bake for 1 hour or until the leeks are soft. Shave the bottarga over the entire dish, and serve topped with the arugula.